Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will add nine single staterooms -- one inside and eight with ocean views -- to the luxury liner, which began sailing in October 2010.
The new staterooms will be available with the Dec. 16 sailing. They were created from space ceded by the Empire Casino, which remains.
Cunard has long been popular with solo travelers and the new addition “builds upon Cunard’s offerings that cater to this growing audience,” the company said in a statement.
A Los Angeles Times Travel section article published Jan. 11, 2011, and based on a cruise taken in late November 2010, said the ship had no single cabins. Cunard, Capt. Christopher Wells was quoted as saying, "doesn't feel obligated" to do that.
Although the captain acknowledged the demand, he said, "You could never build enough. You can never win."
Apparently the game has changed. Even the website is touting the addition of the single Britannia cabins, noting that the new staterooms have beds that are 120 centimeters wide, about 47 inches. A full mattress, according to the website of the Better Sleep Council, is 53 inches wide.
Solo cruise passengers historically have faced stiff singles supplements on many cruise lines. “A solo or single cruiser creates ‘spoilage’ in cruise-speak," said CruiseCritic.com in its “10 Best Cruise Lines for SoloTravelers” article.
“In other words, not only does it leave an empty bed that doesn't add booking revenue, but it also means a missing body to add auxiliary revenue from drink sales, casino use, shore excursions and spa treatments.” The article noted that a solo cruise could pay 150% to 200% of the fare “to cover the cost of the 'missing passenger.’”
I asked a Cunard media relations representative how much a solo traveler in a cabin could expect to pay. The email response: “With the addition of the single staterooms aboard Queen Elizabeth, travelers who book one of these dedicated nine accommodations no longer pay the supplement fee. The fare is uniquely designed as a single stateroom fare, for one guest only.”
To find out more about these uniquely designed fares, I called Cunard reservations; it's not easy to tell from the website which cabins those singles are. The inside cabin on a Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., January sailing was $2,850; the outside cabin was $3,322, not including taxes. Both had already sold out, but the agent told me another cabin was available -- not a single but roomier -- for $2,623.
In an online search, the lowest price for two in a standard inside high deck forward or aft cabin was $1,999 per person, not including taxes and fees.
Info: Cunard, (800) 728-6273
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